How the University of Houston made one move to boost campus safety and gain cost savings
April 27, 2021
By Blue Print Editorial Team
By Blue Print Editorial Team
The E. Cullen Building on the University of Houston Campus.
CHANGE COMES TO CAMPUS
Rufus Kemp and Jeff Benjamin are on a digital call talking about paper towel dispensers. Again. If you know them, this isn’t an odd topic of conversation. Both men work for the University of Houston, and during the height of the pandemic, they needed to find a way to switch every dispenser on campus to a safer, touchless model. This is going to be a huge project. But where to begin?
Before the pandemic, a normal day for the university would see 48,000 students and 6,000 researchers, faculty, and staff on the campus. Even as COVID was ramping up across the U.S., a lot of people were still coming to campus. As a Tier One Carnegie Research University, the campus wasn’t going to shut down experiments; the work needed to continue. Kemp and Benjamin both knew this. So, their priority became finding ways to boost public safety while maintaining some normalcy.
“A number of our facilities still had turn-style faucets and manually operated paper towel dispensers,” said Benjamin, the Assistant Vice President of Facilities Services. “It was very apparent that this would be a quick hit in order to really reduce exposure points."
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ABOUT THE PARTNERSHIP
Jeff Benjamin | Assistant Vice President of Facilities Services
“Fastenal brings a lot to the table for us. One, it’s a worldwide company with massive purchasing power; they have the ability to get the things we need. I think the second thing that they bring to the table for us, that’s probably equally as important, is the data that we can pull from their system. They can tell us what we’re buying, how often we’re buying it, who’s using it.”
Rufus Kemp | MRO SCS (Maintenance Repair Operations Supply Chain Services) Programs Operations Manager
“The university wanted to go touch-free for everything in these bathrooms. So, with the faucets, we actually changed out hundreds to go touch-free and Fastenal provided them. Not only did it save us money, but it provides that new level of safety. And yeah, the cost savings is tremendous. I mean, it’s tremendous. It was one of those decisions that was like, ‘Why didn’t we do it five years ago?’”
Justin Camp | General Manager of Fastenal's Onsite
“The university is basically a small city. They have their own power plants and things; so, we service them as well. And we work in our standard channels, especially on stuff that is in our warehouse, to lower their costs. But also, if there are certain things that the Onsite Fastenal just doesn’t have, we purchase that for them, too, so that they don’t have a headache.”